God’s Do Over Program

March 1, 2007


When I was a child they were called “do overs”. Later when I was older and played golf, we called them “mulligans”.  A fresh start, a new beginning. In my journey through the scriptures for this year I am in Lev. 25 where God describes the year of “Jubilee”. “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.” I guess you could call this, “God’s Do Over” program.

What intrigued me about this principle was not its result, but the reasoning behind the principle. There was a valuable lesson to be taught. The land did not belong to them, it belonged to God. They were simply aliens and tenants, not property owners. That is a hard lesson for us to learn. We have all heard lessons on stewardship and how what we have is given to us by God, but it is very difficult to live that belief. Those possessive pronouns permeate our speech and often betray our hearts — my house, our money, his car, her clothes, their stocks.

The year of Jubilee caused each generation to be reminded that it all belonged to God and was only on loan to them. Yes, it was a “do over” of sorts, but more importantly, it said to Israel, this world is not your home, you are just passing through. Don’t get too attached, we are not home yet.



  1. God’s “Do Over” program;Grace!

    Grace and Peace,
    Royce Ogle

  2. Sounds almost communist. A beautiful gift from God that upsets powerful interests in the world, including the United States.

    Very danderous. Jesus preached this message to the home crowd and it nearly got him killed.

    Many blessings…

  3. That was good, thanks.

  4. Interesting that you chose golf for an example. I play golf, sort of. Sometimes there is a little bit of croquet mixed in, but I like to think of it as golf.

    Here is what God’s mulligan gives me on every hole… a hole in one. No matter the duffs, the shanks, the peeks, or the yips… as long as I get the ball in the hole God writes a 1 on my card. OK maybe it is a zero, but this is a golf analogy so humor me.

    Here is where I venture off… if I pick up, then the deal is off. I need to keep going, hacker that I may be at times, to get that score that reflects God’s grace and forgiveness. I can’t quit the game and walk off and expect that God won’t mind.

    My service to God needs to be finished when I leave this life, not before. There is no retire, no almost, and I can’t say that I quit… I must run the race to it’s completion. Was it Yoda who said, “There is no try, only do or do not.”

    “What I want to do I do not do (wind at my back, head still and down, drive it down the middle), but what I hate I do.” (sliced it into the wood on the right… again!)

    “For I have the desire to do what is good (nice high lob to the pin), but I cannot carry it out.” (bladed the ball into the trap on the next hole, rats!)

    “Wretched man that I am!(I am the worst golfer ever!) Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Playoffs? Playoffs!? We talkin’ about playoffs?!)

    “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Wait, is that MY name on the leader board?)

    OK, it’s a bit silly, but Paul realized what I have finally gotten through my own thick skull, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” but we must get into and continue to live in a relationship with God. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

    I want God to give me that big fat zero on my card (OK I give in, but wouldn’t 18 hole in ones be nice?), but as bad as I am playing, if I keep trying He will continue to forgive my sins.

    See what happens when you talk about golf!? Realize that God is more powerful, more faithful, and way better at being God than you or I can possibly imagine. Live for Him, do His will, and leave the hard stuff like keeping your score down to Him.



  5. Jimbo, thanks so much for your thoughts. The wonderful thing about grace is its motivation. We are not overcome by our failures and discouraged to the point of quiting. Grace frees us to continue.

  6. Lee,

    I appreciate your insights as always. I, however, happen to think this is our home and we’re not just passing through (had an extensive discussion on the subject recently at my blog). The Bible is clear that God will one day renew the earth and all creation. I think Jubilee had more to do with fascilitating justice and equity (prevented people from becoming rich land owners who could oppress the peasants) than signaling that people shouldn’t really get attached to their land. And it was a constant reminder that the land was a gift from God. It was by His grace, therefore, it remained in the families extending all the way back to the time of the initial distrubution to the 12 tribes.

    On a very diffent note, I’d appreciate prayers for mom. She’s going to have another extensive surgery. She’s in bad shape at present. The surgery will take two days–the first to repair her from the back, and the next from the front. It will involve deflating a lung, etc. I hope to visit TN for a few days to be with the family. Dad thinks the surgery will be sometime next week. Waiting for a few more tests in order to solidify.

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